Participants will use Amazon Alexa to test a new voice-assisted program for mental health management. The participant and their support person will use this program to help with goal setting, reminders, and various other services. If a participant doesn't have a support person, a team member will serve as a coach for the duration of the study to guide them with using the program. Participants will be asked to complete surveys and assessments about their experiences during the 12-week study period. Participants will be randomized into two groups: those who receive a guide to help them with utilization of the program to its fullest potential and those who do not receive that guide.



Eligible Ages
Over 18 Years
Eligible Genders
Accepts Healthy Volunteers


Inclusion criteria:

- Adults 65 years or older

- English-speaking

- Elevated depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 ≥ 10)

- Have Wi-Fi access

- Cognitively intact (Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA) score ≥17)


Inclusion criteria:

- Adults 18 years or older

- English-speaking

- Provide support to an older adult (65 or older)

- Have access to Wi-Fi

- Demonstrating capacity to consent

- Cognitively intact (Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA) score ≥17 if 65 years or

Study Design

Study Type
Intervention Model
Parallel Assignment
Intervention Model Description
Randomized Controlled Trial
Primary Purpose
None (Open Label)

Arm Groups

ArmDescriptionAssigned Intervention
Digital Mental Health Intervention (DMHI)
Participants randomized to Arm 1 will be sent an Amazon Alexa device, with a newly designed VIPA treatment program installed, and will receive a guidebook to help the older adult and their caregiver understand the device and utilize the VIPA treatment program to its fullest potential.
  • Behavioral: VIPA Treatment Program
    Participants will receive and Alexa device with a behavioral activation program, along with a detailed guidebook about how to utilize the Alexa device and the VIPA program
Active Comparator
Control Treatment (CT)
Participants randomized to Arm 2 will be sent an Amazon Alexa device with guidebook to help the older adult and their caregiver understand how to use the device.
  • Behavioral: Alexa with Guidebook
    Participants will receive an Alexa device with a detailed guidebook on how to use the device.

Recruiting Locations

More Details

Northwestern University

Study Contact

Olga Barnas

Detailed Description

Older adults have often been on the fringe of benefiting from technology. However, voice-controlled intelligent personal assistants (VIPAs; e.g. Google Home, Amazon Echo), with their natural interaction style and ease of use, are a simple interface technology that may be useful to older adults with depression and their caregivers in the home setting. Caregivers would be able to schedule and follow the interactions between the older adult and the VIPA. The VIPAs would potentially be able to provide functional, cognitive, and social stimulation as well as improve anti-depressant medication adherence through reminders to older adults. The aim is to evaluate a VIPA that was designed to provide the caregiver with the skills and tools to deliver stimulation and medication reminders to older adults with depression. The program model is based on a simplified behavioral activation program designed for administration by lay persons. Through user centered design (UCD), the investigators have adapted the model for remote delivery by a caregiver with the aid of VIPAs that provide psychoeducation, as well as features that support social, cognitive, and functional stimulation and reminders. The ability to deliver a caregiver-coordinated depression management program remotely, through an easy-to-use voice activated end-user interface, has the potential to deliver cost-effective care, easily implementable, to millions of older adults, who currently are unable to access effective treatment. The study duration will be 12 weeks. During those 12 weeks, participants will be able to use Amazon Echo Show 8 and the study's VIPA program to set goals, reminders, and the like to help with their mood. Participants will also be asked to completed associated assessments. Caregivers will be able to interact with a dashboard to see how their older adult participant is faring and also be asked to complete assessments.


Study information shown on this site is derived from ClinicalTrials.gov (a public registry operated by the National Institutes of Health). The listing of studies provided is not certain to be all studies for which you might be eligible. Furthermore, study eligibility requirements can be difficult to understand and may change over time, so it is wise to speak with your medical care provider and individual research study teams when making decisions related to participation.